Everyone knows Salma Hayek as a celebrated performer, self-starting producer, one-time 30 Rock guest star, former model, and all-around sex symbol. But the upcoming cringe comedy Beatriz at Dinner will deal her the greatest acting challenge of her career, and possibly change all that in the process. She’s played glamour girls, Frida Kahlo, a physical manifestation of creative inspiration, and now she’ll go harder against type than ever by portraying a normal-looking person. As the title character, decked out with mom jeans and a dowdy haircut, she’ll have to convince audiences that Salma Hayek could be treated like some Plain Jane by people who don’t give her a second glance. It is what we in the business call a “hard sell.”
It’s pretty unilaterally agreed that Charles Manson was a bad egg. As the leader of the hippie cult known as The Family, he terrorized Southern California with a killing spree that claimed seven lives, including that of actress and Roman Polanski spouse Sharon Tate. He was sentenced to nine consecutive lifetime sentences in prison, where he continues to hang out today. Pop culture has made no bones about its continuing fascination with this charismatic, repulsive figure and a new project will soon provide a fresh perspective on the real-life villain — with another villain along for the ride.
Fambly. Chances are you just read that word in the gravel-voiced growl of babyfaced colossus Vin Diesel, the star of the Fast and Furious franchise that turned those two syllables into a catchphrase, and then into a way of life. In no small way, Diesel is the series, and not just because his name makes him sound like he’s already a character in one of these movies. As noble-hearted car jacker Dom Toretto, he helped shape the tone, themes, and overall outlook of all films fast and furious. But he was this close to missing it all, and going through life primarily identified as “the guy in the xXx movies I always tell my wife I was trying to Google.”
Dito Montiel needs a win right now. The noted indie writer/director was the object of some ridicule (from me) when it came out that his latest feature, the Shia LaBeouf-led war picture Man Down, attracted exactly three viewers in all of Britain. The movie didn’t fare so well stateside either, and Montiel’s previous effort Boulevard got lost in the shuffle when star Robin Williams abruptly died prior to release. Montiel’s coming returning in grand fashion this month with a premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival for his latest film The Clapper, an adaptation of the novel he wrote in 2007 titled Eddie Krumble Is the Clapper. And with a new clip surfacing online today, we can make our own judgement on whether Montiel has cause for hope or if he should hedge some of those bets.
A few years ago, I wrote up a brief item about an incident taking place at Los Angeles’ AFI Film Festival wherein an irate woman maced a man in the face for having the gall to ask her to turn off her cell phone during a screening of Mike Leigh’s J.M.W. Turner biopic Mr. Turner. “Wow, being at the movies sure makes people do crazy things!” I thought to myself. “I wonder how long it’ll be until the next time I get to write about a violent movie theater conflict over petty nonsense.” That day has come at last, and this time [beat to let the moment breathe] the stakes are even higher.
Netflix, for all their diverting original series and Bong Joon-ho subsidization, has also been responsible for the introduction of a great evil into the world. I am referring, of course, to their seemingly infinite-picture development deal with chronic Phoner-of-It-In Adam Sandler. Netflix signed Sandler to a four-movie deal back in 2014, which has been going decidedly less-than-great so far — his Western spoof The Ridiculous Six was a big pile of donkey turds, and the trailer for his upcoming Sandy Wexler has not inspired much more confidence. When the news hit a few weeks ago that Netflix would re-up their deal with Sandler for four more movies, our coverage of the notice contained the words “oh no.”
Christopher Nolan might just be the most bankable Hollywood director this side of James Cameron. Whether shepherding the most successful comic book franchise DC has ever seen or trying his hand at dizzyingly high-concept original projects, Nolan has always met with a monster windfall at the box office. It’s almost as if his films never go out of style. That‘s supposed to be a joke about the song Taylor Swift wrote about Harry Styles. Who is in Christopher Nolan‘s new movie. This is very clearly not my wheelhouse, so let’s just push right ahead as if that never happened.
In appearances at film festivals or the occasional blockbuster exhibit at the Whitney Museum, documentarian Laura Poitras gives the impression of a pretty collected, cool-headed woman. Which comes as a surprise, seeing as few people on Earth would have more justification for turning into a raving paranoid lunatic. Poitras wowed the world in 2014 with her Edward Snowden documentary Citizenfour, wherein she risked life and limb to gain access to the classified intelligence whistleblower and ran afoul of the United States’ far-reaching surveillance programs in the process. A few years later, and she’s prepared to unveil her latest stunning exposé on the shady business of federal watching, the lightning rod Risk. If you weren‘t feeling uneasy about the virtual eyeballs monitoring your every move, now would be a fine time to get started.
It’s been a long week — for you, me, ScreenCrush, America, and Earth. It’s nice to be able to take a moment on Friday to enjoy some more uplifting news, and today has happily obliged us with the announcement that Joe Manganiello went right ahead and wrote a Dungeons & Dragons screenplay. The man I assume must be the most ripped D&D nerd on the planet recently made a guest appearance on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, where he informed host Josh Horowitz that he had co-authored a script based on the popular table-top roleplaying game with a “playwright friend from Carnegie Mellon” last year. Somewhere in the great dork beyond, Gary Gygax is looking down on Manganiello and smiling.
Over the years, Disney’s made a rich tradition out of refashioning their amusement park rides as feature film attractions. There have been successes (Pirates of the Caribbean and its many demon-spawn sequels, and Eddie Murphy vehicle The Haunted Mansion), flops (the Tomorrowland movie, the horrifying Country Bears picture) and whatever Brian De Palma’s Mission to Mars movie was. But the massive entertainment conglomerate has not given up hope on its cross-vertical synergy potential. Today brings the news that yet another of Disney’s thrill-a-minute rides will soon make the jump to the big screen, and let me break it to you now that a hideously insensitive It’s a Small World movie remains, for the moment, an impossible dream/nightmare.
No bubble can last forever — it must eventually pop, as is the nature of bubbles. Marvel has built a vast media empire on the strength of such stars as Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, and Chris Hemsworth, but no actor would be content with playing and re-playing the same role forever. All good (and obscenely lucrative) things must come to an end, and Evans has begun the long and painful process of consciously uncoupling from Captain America’s star-spangled shield and cowl. But a new quote from the actor suggests that he may not be the first big name to make a departure from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Kyle Davies, the President of Domestic Distribution for Paramount Pictures, is not having a great week. The early eruption of a backlash to his studio’s newest release (the generously-budgeted Ghost in the Shell remake) and its whitewashed casting was cause for concern. But up until recently, he could assuage his shareholders’ worries by clinging to the notion that hackle-raising on the Internet would not have any tangible effects on the box-office receipts. That changed after this past weekend, when the Scarlett Johansson vehicle mustered a piteous $19 million in wide release. Left to answer for the film’s commercial failure, Davies has placed the blame on the controversy over tapping confirmed white woman Johansson to portray an Asian role, to which the whole of the Internet will now respond with a hearty “DA-DOY.”
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